Been doing some reading on ways to approach people that you want to be your mentor, and I’m starting to learn that asking people is not easy.
In fact, its probably one of the hardest things to do, to turn someone who is a stranger, and probably with a lot of high responsibilities, into a friend and a mentor. Because, when you come down to it, there is a very fundamental difference between reaching out to someone, and establishing a long term relationship. Relationships take trust, and that’s not always something you can build very fast. In fact, you have to prove it, you have to earn it.
To say it in a different way, it is easy to get airtime with someone once. All you have to do is ask. The trick is be interesting enough for them to talk to you again.
My backdrop to this is reaching out to Andrew Hessel, who teaches the biotechnology track at SU. One of my goals is to be able to work as a teaching fellow for the biotechnology track at SU over this summer, and to do that I’m trying to talk to as many people in positions of influence as possible. The other goal is to find someone in the biotechnology/entrepreneurship field to be my mentor.
This post, and a series of other ones following this, will focus on various hypothesis I have about how to make this work, how to develop a relationship with someone that you don’t really know. We’ll see if I’m successful or not haha. But in any case, I can say that this is extremely interesting, and I’m glad to be embarking on this new road.
Hypothesis One: You have to generate/demonstrate value. In social media world, it means having something to back it up.
Hypothesis Two: You should be articulate about what you want, and why you want to do it, but maybe not in the reaching out email. Instead, put it elsewhere, where it is visible, and reference it. Maybe try to use social media to push it.
Next post will be a little manifesto, and more updates from the front. 🙂
Lesson: 3 rules to follow for emailing:
1. keep it short.
2. include an ask. What is an ask?*
3. make sure that the ask was something that the other person could respond to in one or two sentences (so lubricate, lessen friction)
Dreamchamps’ reaching out worked because she had attached Tony Schwartz twitter handle on Monday (she sent it out on Friday) and he had read her blog post, and why she wanted to do with the ask.
*What is an ask? An ask is a request for an action or favor. While it can feel hard to ask something of someone with such valuable time and expertise, it is truly the only way they can help you. And trust me, if they’ve taken time out of their day to talk with you, they want to help you as best they can.- Dream Champs